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Home English Alfano blocks gay union registration, Bologna defiant

Alfano blocks gay union registration, Bologna defiant


Rome, October 7 - Interior Minister Angelino Alfano
lit a firestorm of protest by ordering the annulment of foreign
gay-marriage registrations Tuesday, with Bologna among the
cities saying they would defy the order.
Gay rights groups were indignant, even though the order
will have no practical effect since gay marriage is not legal in
The centre-left Democratic Party (PD), senior partner in
government to Alfano's New Centre Right (NCD), said that far
from scrapping any gay-marriage norms, Italy should work to
introduce them.
Speaking on Italian radio, Alfano said all marriages
between same-sex couples contracted abroad and registered by
city authorities in Italy must be cancelled and removed from
municipal registries.
In an interview with radio station RTL, Alfano said the
foreign contracts are not compatible with Italian law.
"In Italy, same-sex marriage isn't possible, so if people
of the same sex get married, those marriages can't be
transcribed into the Italian State civil registries, for the
simple fact that the law doesn't allow it," Alfano said.
If cities where mayors authorized registration of same-sex
marriages don't cancel the marriages from the registries, the
Italian government will step in to annul the registrations, he
Bologna Mayor Virginio Merola said he would not obey
Alfano's order.
"If they want to annul the transcriptions of marriages
contracted abroad, let them. I won't take my signature off,"
Merola said.
"So let them do it but not in the name of Bologna, which I
represent. I won't obey," Merola said.
Naples' city government, meanwhile, said it would appeal
against Alfano's order.
"The circular annulling the transcriptions is contrary to
the Constitutional principle of equal rights," the city council
claimed, saying it "will appeal to the competent judicial
And Udine Mayor Furio Honsell told ANSA that "bureaucratic
circulars" won't resolve the issue.
"This is a question that has to be brought before
parliament or the Constitutional Court," Honsell said.
"Everyone knows that these transcriptions don't produce any
effect in Italy, but nonetheless, they have a notable value in
symbolic terms, because they highlight the right of LGBT people
to equal opportunities, and show the inconsistency of the
Italian system with respect to the rest of Europe," Honsell
Grosseto Mayor Emilio Bonfazi said, too, that he would
continue to follow the local landmark court order in April which
imposes transcription of same-sex marriages contracted abroad.
"A court order has more weight than a ministerial circular,"
Bonfazi said.
"If the minister wanted to do things right, given that he's
the minister and not there by chance, he should have worked to
have parliament approve a law one way or the other. With a
circular, he doesn't do anything to us, and the prefect doesn't
do anything to us either," Bonfazi said.
But an NCD mayor in Abruzzo bucked the trend and approved
Alfano's stance.
Chieti Mayor Umberto Di Primio said: "I respect the law,
minister Alfano has made the right decision.
"Marriage is between a man and a woman," the mayor
explained, "as our Constitution envisages".
However, PD Chairman Matteo Orfini told Alfano Rome should
not be scrapping foreign gay-marriage registrations but rather
making them possible in Italy.
"Dear Angelino Alfano, instead of annulling the
registrations of gay marriages let's try to make them possible
in Italy too," Orfini tweeted.
Opposition leftist SEL party leader Nichi Vendola accused
Alfano of being like a caveman.
"Come out of the cave," said Puglia Governor Vendola,
arguably Italy's most prominent gay politician.
"Alfano's slogan appears to mean fewer rights for all,"
said Vendola.
Vendola, who has lived openly with his younger partner for
many years, called Alfano "the sentry guarding the values of the
traditional family".
The leaders of three prominent Italian gay rights
organizations denounced Alfano's circular.
"We're appealing to cities to disobey the minister's
decision, just like the Italy of the Resistance disobeyed the
orders of the Fascist regime," said Arcigay President Flavio
President and founder of the rightwing Gaylib, Enrico
Oliari, said that there's an Italian court ruling supporting
couples and mayors who intend to register same-sex marriages
contracted abroad.
"I'm personally waiting for the European Court of Human
Rights to rule on my appeal, which came from a ruling in the
Italian Constitutional Court and invited parliament to legislate
on same-sex unions," Oliari said.
"Alfano should run for leader of the Standing Sentinels,"
said Fabrizio Marrazzo, spokesman for Gay Center.
Standing Sentinels (Sentinelle in Piedi) is a citizen group
that organizes silent protests in Italian squares against
"pro-gay" laws, by standing silently for one hour reading a
"We hope that those brave mayors who have decided to
transcribe these marriages will keep going. The government,
Renzi, and the majority leaders should take a stand against the
interior minister's decision," Marrazzo said.
PD Senator Senator Sergio Lo Giudice said that if Alfano
goes forward in annulling transcriptions of same-sex marriages
contracted abroad, he'll file a legal appeal.
Lo Giudice wed Michele Giarratano in Norway in 2011 and
together they have a 5-month-old son, Luca.
"My partner is the legal father, I'm just a stranger.
That's why our battle is also for our son, so that it can be
recognized that he has two parents," said Lo Giudice, whose
marriage was registered in Bologna six months ago.

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